Hello there, Andrea here! I’m so excited to be officially joining Misty’s “Simple Family Preparedness” team of writers. I’ve written a few posts in the past, but I will now be writing a monthly series dedicated to learning important skills to add to your survival resumé! Our first skill: waterproofing matches!

Sure you can buy waterproofed matches, but they tend to be pretty penny more compared to the basic ones you can get at your local dollar store. Personally, I only really use waterproof matches on occasion, like when I will be out camping in less than ideal weather or kayaking. Otherwise, I like to stick to the traditional strike anywhere matches. By waterproofing my own, I don’t have to buy two different types of matches. Plus, if I run out of waterproof matches, I don’t have to run out to the market! I can just make what I need out of what I have on hand!

Here’s what you will need for waterproofing matches:

  • Matches (I use strike anywhere, or the strike on the box multi-packs found at the dollar store)
  • Wax (I use the left overs from various half-used candles around my home)
  • A pot filled with 1-2 inches of water
  • A disposable metal pan (makes clean up much easier)
  • Double-sided tape
  • A small box

Melting Wax ~ Simple Family Preparedness  Dipping Match ~ Simple Family Preparedness  Drying Wax ~ Simple Family Preparedness

Here’s the process to waterproofing matches:

  1. First, break up your wax into small pieces. Put the wax bits into the metal pan and float it in the pot of water and gently melt the wax over low heat. Be sure not to over heat the wax as there is a small risk of ignition.
  2. While the wax is melting, create your drying rig. Affix a strip of the double-sided tape to the edge of the box. You may wish to place a piece of paper underneath to catch any wax drips.
  3. Individually dip each match head into the warm wax, covering the head plus an additional quarter-inch.
  4. Stick each match to the double-sided tape so that they can dry with the wax hanging over the edge of the box. It shouldn’t take long for the matches to dry, but give them about a half-hour to fully harden before handling. If you wish, you can re-dip each match for even better water proofing.

from left to right: un-dipped match, single dipped match, double dipped match, triple dipped match.from left to right: un-dipped match, single dipped match, double dipped match, triple dipped match.

You may store matches in their original box, though I don’t recommend mixing water-proofed and non-water-proofed matches.  For even better water protection, especially when roughing it, you can store matches in a water tight container such this one. We even have a 5-1 container that can hang from your neck or pack, and also includes a whistle, mirror, and compass. Both are inexpensive and worth it to protect your hard work. I am always careful to store a striker with my matches, even if I use the “strike anywhere” styles, just for the added convenience.

There you have it, super simple! While I have been using this method to waterproof my matches for years without any issues, there are actually several methods people use. Perhaps the most popular method, after wax, includes dipping them in turpentine or nail polish. You can find a great tutorial for these method here. I’ve used turpentine dipped matches and I really do like them, but I find that I don’t readily have turpentine on hand all the time and matches treated with turpentine are difficult to identify from non-treated matches. I do have several bottles of nail polish around, but I would rather use that for a pedicure personally 🙂 Wax is cheap, always available around my home, and is very easy to use.

One final note: if you live in an area that is prone to flooding or hurricanes, it may be worthwhile to buy a few packs of these super amazing Storm-Proof Matches. You can light them, submerge them in water, and they will relight themselves again! Take a moment to watch the link, and be prepared to be impressed. They are more than your average matches, but still affordable for less than $4 per box. They also have a longer burn time and can resist high winds. I wouldn’t use them for my day-to-day needs, but they would be invaluable during an emergency.

Have you ever water-proofed your own matches before? Do you have a preferred method? Would you rather pay a little more to have a company do the process for you, or would you be willing to DIY? Let me know in the comments below!